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Running: Stats and fun facts from the 2017 season

Time for one last rewind on 2017 as the numbers are in for the race season.

Local runner Fritz Van Leaven monitored 445 races held in Western New York, Southern Ontario, and Northeastern Pennsylvania -- 17 more than were held in 2016. Participation totaled 134,048, an increase of 0.7 percent. The average turnout for all races was 301.2 participants.

The increase in the number of races, however, may have been an impact on individual races. Of the 341 races that were staged in 2016 and 2017, 190 had the same number of runners or lost runners while 152 experienced increases in participation.

Here are fun numbers from last race season as you start to plan your 2018 race calendar:

The Turkey Trot is No. 1. The longest continuously held footrace drew the largest number of finishers in 2017 with 12,410 crossing the line. It held on to its top spot from 2016 and the top five remained unchanged. The J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge was second with 9,587 finishers, followed by Shamrock Run (3,409), Buffalo Half Marathon (2,975), and Girls on the Run 5K (2,613).

Rounding out the top 10 were: Run The 'Berg For Autism (1,258), Buffalo Marathon (1,184), Mighty Niagara Half Marathon (1,097), Ronald McDonald House (1,008) and Subaru Buffalo 4 Mile Chase (997).

Big jump for Run The 'Berg For Autism. The 5K in Hamburg had the largest increase in total finishers, going from 817 in 2016 to 1,258 in 2017, making it the sixth-largest race in Western New York. That's 441 new runners for the race, which has its eighth annual run scheduled for June 2, 2018.

In all, seven races gained more than 100 finishers. The others are the YMCA Turkey Trot (166), the Happy 5K in Ellicottville (129), A Walk in Lauren's Shoes (112), Friends of the Night People Hunger on the Run 5K (107), Ronald McDonald House (101), and the Pumpkin Run in Williamsville (100).

Beast of Burden had the largest percentage jump. So not a lot of people want to attempt the 100-mile and 24-hour Ultra Challenge along the Erie Canal in Lockport. But the total of 53 finishers was a 194.4 percent increase from 2016's total of 18.

There are lots of girls on the run. The Girls on the Run 5K ranked as the most popular 5K in Western New York with its 2,631 finishers.

Coming in at No. 2 on the most popular 5K list is Run The 'Berg for Autism followed by Ronald McDonald House, the 50 Yard Finish in Orchard Park (946), and East Aurora's Bunny Hop (925).

Chautauqua Institution had the most successful debut. The 2.7-mile race that followed the perimeter of the famed Southern Tier location drew 724 finishers in its first year.

Run 716, a 15K in Buffalo, drew 679 runners in its debut.

The rest of the top 10 for new races were: Four for Forty Four & Cross Country Beer Mile in Lakewood (324), Run 716 Relay (279), Sponge Candy 5K in North Tonawanda (251), I Love Public Education 5K (216), iRun WNY 5K New Year's Classic in Youngstown (141), A Light In the Darkness Memorial in Niagara Falls (126), The Wooden Shoe 5K Run/Walk in Clymer (111) and Queen City 5K (110).

Buffalo is the most popular spot. The Queen City held on to the title as most popular city to hold a race with 69 races in 2017. Orchard Park continued to rank No. 2 with 26 races.

Lockport led Niagara County with with 17 races while Niagara Falls had 15 and Lewiston nine.

People love their 5Ks. The 3.1-mile course continues to be the most popular with 250 at that distance in 2017. Double the distance, the 10K was the second-most popular with 29. There were more opportunities to run a 1-mile race (18) than a half marathon (16).

Kieffer signs with Oiselle

Allie Kieffer, currently of Williamsville, joined Oiselle's elite team this week. The female  athletic apparel company also sponsors runners Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Devon Yanko and Sarah Bard.

In 2017, Kieffer dropped 26 minutes off her personal best, placing fifth in the NYC Marathon with a time of 2:29:39.

"Our approach to athlete sponsorships has always been focused on rising stars who have a story to tell," Oiselle CEO Sally Bergesen said in a release. "From the day Allie shocked the world and finished as the second American in last year's NYC Marathon, we knew she had drive and talent. Oiselle is incredibly excited to support Allie as she not only aims to make the Worlds and Olympic Teams, but also talks openly about issues facing many women athletes - from body image to recovering from injury."

Race Calendar

Saturday, Jan. 13

  • Chautauqua Striders Winter 5K Series No. 1, 10 a.m., Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood

Monday, Jan. 15

  • Jackrabbit Snowshoe Series No. 2, 2-mile and 1-mile, 6:30 p.m., Kissing Bridge, 10296 State Road, Glenwood

Saturday, Jan. 20

  • Chautauqua Striders Winter 5K Series No. 2, 10 a.m., Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood

Monday, Jan. 22

  • Jackrabbit Snowshoe Series No. 3, 2-mile and 1-mile, 6:30 p.m., Kissing Bridge, 10296 State Road, Glenwood

Saturday, Jan. 27

  • Chautauqua Striders Winter 5K Series No. 3, 10 a.m., Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood
  • Frozen Chozen 5K, 10 a.m.,  St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4536 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park

Sunday, Jan. 28

  • Penguin Run 5K, 11 a.m., Classics V Banquet Facility, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst


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